The most wonderful things happen when I’m out painting en plein air in my community. A couple of weeks ago I was wandering around south of Saline, looking for a view that “flipped my switch.” I came upon this view of a lovely old farm house and field on a dirt road and set up my easel. A couple of people stopped by to see what I was doing. When I was almost finished with the piece, a woman and her daughter stopped by. It turns out that they owned this property, and, unbelievably, already owned a few of my paintings! We had a wonderful conversation and I promised to send them a small jpeg of the finished artwork. They decided they liked the painting and wanted to purchase it. We had another lovely talk when I dropped the painting off at her beautiful farm. She even showed me where she had hung my other paintings in her home. A totally amazing and art affirming visit!
I never paint a specific scene with the hopes that the owners of the land will want to buy it. I paint a view because it “speaks” to me in some special way. But how wonderful when my artwork also “speaks” to the owners!
I was painting on one of my friend’s land one day last summer when she requested that I shoot some photos of her rescued Greyhound. She knew he was beginning to fail and would soon be gone. After he passed, she asked me to paint a portrait of the sweet pup as a Christmas gift for her husband who was especially close to him.
As an animal lover myself, I’m always touched when someone wants to remember their treasured pet with a portrait. It’s unbelievably difficult to have these wonderful friends in our lives… and then lose them. They love us no matter what, and their presence is so missed when they’re gone…
A couple more paintings from my vagabond days in Rome this August.
After my workshop at La Romita School of Art was over, I spent 3 days alone painting in Rome. I figured I was already in Italy, and since I could get a free hotel with points from my credit card, it would be a sin not to stay a few days more. I must admit that I was a pretty pooped artist by that time. I couldn’t paint in oil because the pieces wouldn’t dry quickly enough to pack them for the flight home. So I decided to enjoy the city on foot, carrying my lightweight watercolor supplies with me. I’ve been to Rome quite a few times before, so I felt no need to visit all the tourist sites and museums. And I had no set agenda. I just walked. And walked. And walked. It was sunny and in the high 90′s so I stopped often under shady porticos or ancient trees to paint whatever caught my fancy.
The Italians, the people of my ancestry, are waaaaaay into sculpture and monuments. Every small village and huge city is filled with them. They honor religious figures, statesmen, artists, and fallen heroes. And they also commemorate special dates in history, such as the unification of the country or an especially victorious battle. They even name their streets after those dates!!
This small monument in an Umbrian hill town sat on the edge of a piazza near a breathtaking view of the countryside. It was created to remember the World War 1 soldiers from their small village who had not returned home. I thought it was simple and elegant (unlike some of the “over the top” memorials I’ve seen) and wanted to capture it in a watercolor sketch. I only had 20 minutes until the bus was scheduled to pick us up, so I had to work quickly, painting only my initial impression with very little detail.